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(TRENTON) – Senator Shirley K. Turner, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, and Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) called for a “school construction timeline” for emergent repairs needed at Trenton Central High School after a meeting with state officials from the School Development Authority (SDA) and Department of Education. Joining in the meeting were Superintendent Francisco Duran, Trenton Board of Education President Toby Sanders, Business Administrator Jayne Howard, Director of Abbott Facilities Construction Dwayne Mosely as well as parent activists. The legislators described the current condition of Trenton Central High School as “deplorable.”
“As representatives of our capital city, the conditions of Trenton Central High School can not be ignored any longer,” Senator Shirley K Turner stated. Turner, the catalyst for the meeting, requested the meeting shortly after touring the high school with Gusciora and Watson Coleman in December. “Not only is the building depressing and an unfit learning environment, it’s unsafe and dangerous as whole sections of roof are in utter disrepair.”
“We understand that there are bureaucratic hurdles in rehabilitating an eighty year old educational edifice,” Gusciora commented. “However, educators and parents alike are left in the dark as to when the first shovel will be placed in the ground to fix this high school. We simply asked for a timeframe as to when this process will end and construction will begin.”
Trenton Central High School was approved in March as one of the 20 recommended projects by the Governor to be advanced as part of the SDA Capital Program. TCHS was granted in the third category under “Projects that address Serious Facility Deficiencies.”
“For nearly 10 years we have been fighting for state funding and now we are finally slated for it. What I don’t understand is the logic in rehabilitating rather than tearing down,” Watson Coleman stated. “We obviously need more information. The process needs to be laid out by stage, steps, scope, time frame, and cost. Why rehabilitating? What are costs is the SDA covering? What costs is Trenton responsible for? These are essential questions that need immediate attention to. Our children can not learn in this building, that’s the bottom line.”
A working group comprised of the SDA, the Department of Education, and the Trenton Board of Education will commence the week of January 14th to begin working on the specific scope of the project to begin moving forward towards rehabilitating the Trenton Central High School. In the meantime, SDA has been asked by the legislators to give them a “specific timetable” as to when the planning and construction of the rehabilitation project will begin.
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Kari Osmond, 609-292-0500
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